Here at TravelingMom.com, we all write about travel, with kids and without. Our kids have journeyed across continents, flown more air miles than some adults, and can navigate a road map with ease. Why is travel so important to us? We addressed the topic of why travel with kids is so important to their development on our recent Residence Inns by Marriott twitter party and came up with these 7 reasons to travel with your kids.
Need a reason to book your next trip with your kids? We’ve got seven reasons why travel with your kids teaches them valuable life lessons and promotes healthy development.
7 Reasons to Travel with Kids
1. Travel teaches kids to be flexible.
There are a gajillion parenting experts out there. The advice is conflicting- follow a strict schedule, let babies needs dictate the schedule, let them cry it out, crying it out is harmful, cosleep, don’t cosleep, breast is best, do what is comfortable for you. We TMOMs have raised our kids with very different methods and ideas but one thing we believe across the board is that we all have very go with the flow flexible kids. When travel starts at a young age, kids learn that flexibility is key. They see that they are a part of the world but that it doesn’t revolve around them. Patience is an important skill that is challenging to teach, but travel with your kids and they will learn it.
2. Learning doesn’t end in the classroom.
Regular TMOM Twitter party attendee Erin of LoveDisneyRunning phrased this one perfectly. Raising kids who are in love with learning is a goal many of us have. Curious minds seek out information and continue a lifelong pattern of learning. Travel teaches you so much every day both in real life skills and in history and culture. Kids who travel understand that school isn’t their only avenue for learning. Kids who travel with parents who love to learn also reap the benefits of seeing that learning is not just for kids. When you and your children learn new things together they see you absorbing new info, taking in new concepts, and changing your opinions and beliefs as information becomes available. They see that just because you have certain beliefs and norms, you can adapt and use new knowledge to frame how you see the world.
3. Immersion in other cultures and exposure to diversity broaden your child’s horizons.
Raising caring and compassionate children is a goal for many parents. Traveling with children helps them to see that there are many different ways of life out there. TMOM Maria Smith wisely said that she wants her kids to understand that there is more than their corner of the world. Travel also helps kids see similarities between themselves and folks from other cultures and geographic regions. Texas sounded foreign to my Vermont kids when we moved but we quickly came to realize it wasn’t all cacti and cowboy boots. The region we live in now actually appears very similar to the rolling farmland of the Green Mountains.
4. Eliminate picky eaters.
Now I’m not saying that travel will magically turn your tot into a tiny gourmand but those who travel regularly will very quickly learn that part of the fun of new places is new tastes! Eating new things is half the fun of travel. After a few trips they’ll branch out and pretty soon they’ll be asking street vendors what they have to eat. The kid who thrived on PB&J will be eating a skewer of octopus and pronouncing it delicious. Miracles happen.
5. Teach first hand the value of experiences over material things.
As adults we often say that we would choose things over experiences. Regrets we have are things we didn’t do, the road not taken. What if there was a way to teach kids the importance of time together and experiences over material possessions? Oh wait, travel does that too!
6. Teach resilience and coping skills.
Want to teach kids to overcome when things don’t go their way? Travel with them. Some of our favorite family stories are ones that were “accidents” while we were traveling. My son remembers the time the elevator door closed before I got in in Cleveland when he was 5 and how he figured out to go to the lobby and wait there. We’ve been pooped on, puked on, stranded, and sopping wet and the kids are better people because of it. Now when something potentially embarrassing happens they are able to laugh it off in a way that I never could at their age. The confidence that travel has taught them is irreplaceable.
7. Bonding time and family memories.
Yup, I saved this one for last. As kids grow older we want them to come to us when they have problems. Traveling with your kids gives you an extensive amount of facetime with them. Shared experiences show them that you are a not just a parent but a person. Long car rides give you the opportunity to chat about everything from what you wanted to be when you grew up to bullying to your own travels. And don’t be afraid to split up the family a bit and take the kids away solo. It’s healthy for kids to get one on one time with each parent. While my girls love our all family trips the two trips they each mention the most are short girls weekends that I did just with them.
Have you traveled with your kids? What did they learn? What do you hope they’ll learn?